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Animation and Anime

What's The Buzz On Seinfeld's BEE MOVIE?!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Mixed, I’d say. We’ve got three reviews today of a recent screening of BEE MOVIE. Keep in mind, this is very early in the process, and one of the reasons they’re doing this is so they figure out what areas need work. Sounds like our spies have plenty of feedback on that exact topic. Check out this first guy.

Hey there, never written in before, but after sitting through the preview tonight here in Phoenix, I had to write in and prepare everyone. Granted, the movie was about 20% animated and otherwise had lots of storyboards, but no matter how great the movie had looked, it wouldn't have saved it. I was really looking forward to seeing it, but I just gotta warn everyone who, like me, was really looking forward to seeing this one. The trailers are EXTREMELY misleading. If the movie was half as entertaining and clever as the trailers, we would have had a great film on our hands. As it stood, though, it was just disjointed as hell. It definitely felt like the filmmakers had no real idea who to try to appeal to with this film, or really, even what to do with the plot. Each act seems to bring in new characters, and they're all pretty forgettable. Things are introduced in the first act that lead you to believe the movie is heading in a certain direction. Barry (Seinfeld's character) is starting his first day at work, making honey, and decides he just can't do it, because it'll bore him. So he decides he'd rather be a "pollinator jock," who are kinda cool bomber-jacket wearing bees. The plot sticks with that for a while, then suddenly strays completely off-course when Barry gets to leave the hive with the jocks, gets off-course and finally ends up meeting Vanessa, Renee Zellweger's human character. Believe it or not, there's a vague romance between Barry (a bee) and Vanessa (a human), and no one seems to find this that weird. It's quickly explained that bees can talk, but for some reason it's against bee law. So we suddenly have a light romance/buddy movie with Barry and Vanessa, until the movie changes direction again, and becomes all about Barry filing a class action lawsuit against humans for stealing honey from the bees. This might have been all well and good, but many of the jokes fall flat. Some are really quite cute and funny, but then you'll get long, drawn out bits with very bad or childlike jokes that just don't make you laugh, and a kind of awkward boredom starts to set in as you wait for the next time you'll be entertained. And as for Chris Rock? He's in one scene, and never shows up again. All in all, I'll be curious to see how the finished film turns out. But currently, the movie is pretty lacking. In trying to appeal to all audiences, the comedy was all over the place. Sometimes it was genuinely funny, and even a little filthy (about as filthy as, say, the Shrek movies). But a lot of the jokes just fell flat because they were literally something you'd see in a preschool-age show. Anyway, sorry to burst any bubbles, but, right now, Bee Movie isn't anything special. Even the character design and finished animation really leave something to be desired. Oh well. Maybe they can improve it. If you print this, please refer to me as Jerq. Thanks.

Well, I’m sure someone at Dreamworks will be calling you a “Jerq” tomorrow. And me, too, probably. But it seems like that first guy’s reaction wasn’t an isolated thing. Listen to this:

Hey Moriarty. Bee Movie Review for you. Today I was lucky enough to go to a very early screening of Jerry Seinfeld's new animated movie Bee Movie. The film doesn't come out until November and about half of the film was storyboards. Jeffrey Katzenberg was there too and they said it was one of the first public screenings. Anyways on to the film. Jerry Seinfeld stars as Barry Benson, a bee fresh out of college who is not exactly thrilled about going to work in the honey factory for the rest of his life. One day he leaves the hive and is nearly killed until a young florist Vanessa (Renee Zellwegger) saves him. Barry is so greatful that he decides to thank her personally, even though bees are forbidden to speak to humans. The two soon become friends and everything is peachy keen. While walking in a supermarket together, Barry sees packaged honey and finds out that humans also consume honey. This shocks Barry, as the honey has to be forcibly taken from the bees. Soon Vanessa and Barry are working together to sue the honey manufacturers in the Supreme Court and get all of the worlds honey returned to the bees. If you read that summary, you can tell that the story isn't the movie's strong point. It jumps around so much and new plot points are introduced and dropped so rapidly that its confusing. It does, however, have some pretty funny lines. Patrick Warburton steals the show as Ken, Vanessa's human love interest. I also enjoyed how the humor wasn't your generic safe kids humor. Theres a refrence to a person being a "gay man" and one character is described as "very Jewish". It never crosses the line of but it keeps the film from becoming another PC crap fest. Overall, I'd give the movie 3 stars or a letter grade of B. Its funny, but not that funny. The story sucks but it has some original elements that you won't find in most kids films. Its worth a rental or seeing in theaters if you're a big Seinfeld fan. One more thing, although being in the trailer, Chris Rock has 1 scene and about 5 lines. He's very funny as a mosquito headed to alaska ("Moose blood. Its crazy stuff!") but deserved more than a cameo. If you use this, call me Logger.

Some very similar complaints. To me, this sounds like Dreamworks is basically making another ANTZ. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing, but that’s not a film I find myself exactly longing to see again. One last spy, and let’s see if he’s got some of the same issues or not.

Hey there Harry, Long time reader, second time contributor. (I sent you the first TROY review many moons back.) Today I got to see a seriously advanced screening of November's BEE MOVIE with Jerry Seinfeld. Safe to say, this is the first time I have seen a movie eight months before its release. The film was less than half finished, the rest being storyboards and anamatics. Music, voices, and sound effects all seemed to be in place, though, so the lacking animation didn't hurt the screening. The animation that was done looked just as crisp and vibrant as any recent big budget animated movie, so the film is definitely going to look pretty come November. Too bad ther rest sucked. BEE MOVIE was awkward, boring, and badly paced. The movie can be divivded into four 22 minute sections, each with its own focus, like a kids TV show. This made it hard to connect to any overall story because they never stayed with any one aspect long enough for you to care. Yes, it's a cartoon movie, but I've seen plenty of good cartoon movies that didn't have this issue. And to compare it to the animated movies of recent years, at least the SHREKs were funny. Let's break it down: ACT I: Barry the Bee (Jerry Seinfeld) is unhappy with his bee life. Just making honey until death. He decides to situation himself to where he gets to leave the hive to collect polen. This section in the film at its most creative, showing the bee world and all its uses of the honey as fuel, food, swimming pool water, and so on. Seinfeld does a good enough job with the voice acting that I could easily accept him as a voice actor for the rest of his career. All of the other sub-celebrity voices kinda suck, especially Matthew Broderick as Barry's best friend, who goes from okay to annoying in less time than it takes to turn off THE PRODUCERS. ACT II: When out in the world (with flying sequences that are actually quite cool), Barry sees and falls in love with a human woman (voice of Renee Zellweger). See, in this world bees can talk, but have never bothered to speak to humans. This logic didn't work in the shitcake that was TOM AND JERRY: THE MOVIE, and it doesn't work here. Anyway, he talks to her, she has about a minute of freak out, then the "Hey, bees can talk" shock passes, and the two become best friends. Seriously. For the whole movie, the bee-human love aspect is just too damn awkward. I cringed at every slow motion close up and swell of music. Seriously awkward. On a side note, and I think this may just be the Jessica-Rabbit-helped-me-discover-masturbation cartoon geek in me, but Renee Zellweger's animated character is HOT. Very, very yummy. ACT III: Barry discovers that humans, in fact, have bee colonies to harvest he sues the human race. And the world accepts that bees talk, it goes to trial, and Barry becomes a celebrity. I have to go ahead and ruin the film's best bit here: All of these animated movies have become so self-referential, that you can understand that Barry would end up on talkshow "Bee Larry King," voiced by Larry King himself, as a bee. But what tickled me was that for most of the faux interview, Barry is trying to convince Bee Larry King that there is a Larry King in the human world, with a talkshow and suspenders, too, who sounds just like him. If only the rest of the movie had that wit. ACT IV: Well, at this point it's a strange "oops, sorry about ruining the world's economy and plant life" and so everyone has to work together, blah blah blah, save the flowers, such and such. Cartoon or not, if someone is responsible for global devestation (showing us just one dead park to represent the world's situation), a "What did you expect?" conversation on a balcony with a great view is not exactly the best way to make a point about our fragile ecosystem and how we all play out parts. Each section can be viewed like an episode of a show that could get good, but never does. Giving us a story that seems less chopped up would have been nice. Here's hoping the next eight months are well spent because otherwise I won't be spending any of my money to see it. Bonk of 37
Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 28, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST


    by emeraldboy

    This movie is not finised yet. SO i dont trust people who say this movie is looks terrible. The movie isnt done yet. By the time it is the only will look different. the human and bees part sounds weird, but they have possibly dumped that already. if they havent they will.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:08 a.m. CST

    These pretzels are making me thirsty!

    by BLove

    These pretzels are making me thirsty!

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:22 a.m. CST


    by The Pusher

    Seinfeld's character is named Barry? As in "Jerry" with a B (and an a)? I'll bet that B stands for 'bee'. I honestly have no idea what else to say here.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:27 a.m. CST


    by I Cant Believe I Actually Registered

    "Jessica-Rabbit-helped-me-discover-masturbation cartoon geek in me" isnt that a weird thing to say? id say yes.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:31 a.m. CST

    "Too bad the rest sucked."

    by triplefive


  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:52 a.m. CST

    Cultural References

    by pammybabe

    I hope this films doesn't make too many American cultural references. Not only are they lazy jokes but for us non-American audiences it can leave us scratching our heads about what they are talking about. I have heard of Larry King but he doesn't mean a lot over here in the UK of A. Also, believe it or not, Sienfeld was not a big hit in the UK (it only got shown after 11pm on BBC2). Any jokes about this show will also fall flat over here.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:56 a.m. CST


    by SlowSand

    Hmmm...Brits don't want to bother with learning our humor when most (informed Americans) acquire a great deal of knowledge in British humor to understand something like The Office or even Snatch. Now where is the laziness exactly?

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 8:02 a.m. CST


    by PhantomSpazzz

    The whole movie should have been about making a kids movie with men in giant overstuffed silly costumes like the trailer. I dont know why but i find those Jimmy Dean tv commercials with the guy in the sun costume very humorous. If they were creative and stepped out of the box they should have followed the trailers.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Seinfeld isn't funny. And this is news?

    by DerLanghaarige

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Oh good, Take II

    by Phimseto

    First Pixar goes enviro-weepy, and now we get "Happy Feet" with bees.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    I thought

    by zati1

    this movie was live-action? The only clip I've seen of it so far is with Seinfeld and Chris Rock in their goofy ass costumes climbing up a windshield. How is it animated?

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Wow so the movie doesnt flow well.

    by godzillasushi

    Thats wierd, I thought Chris Rock would be in there as a main character. When you have three people saying the same thing, it's clear they are probably right.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 9:12 a.m. CST

    These are the worst plants EVER!

    by Acappellaman

    Seriously, how does this make me want to see the movie? If I were the studio, I wouldn't pay them. Oh, yeah, this movie will suck. I'm no Seinfeld hater by any means, but it just doesn't look good. These guys just confirm it.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Seinfeld Gotta Eat!!

    by boba_rob

    So he's cookin' the books w/ his sexy tomboy beanpole wife. I know, it's too soon and there are no werewolves. Plant!!!

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Sounds like all the concepts for the movie were used

    by SexyBeast

    So what happen was the writers all had some good ideas but couldn't make a whole movie on just one, so they used all of them.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Dreamworks CG movies have yet to be good

    by BitterMan23

    I know everyone loves Shrek but the popculture jokes are more in line with "____ Movie" humor (i.e. forgettable). flushed away was a slight improvement.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 11:21 a.m. CST

    The Cosby curse

    by half vader

    He was there before Jerry. <p> Pammybabe and Slowsand, it seems like neither of you are representative of your country's general proclivities! Brits get a lot more U.S. humour than you think, and the clever lucky few Americans (probably a lot of whom are on these boards) get irony, Cleese and Python in general. Even Larry Sanders is lost on most 'average' Americans. The informed Americans you mention are the minority when it comes to humour. No-one ELSE wants 'Reba'! I'm not a brit and I don't live in the States, so I try to be objective. But not about your lowest common denominator sitcoms. Especially Reba. <p> Zati: you ARE joking right? Watch the second trailer. <p> Bitterman: not EVERYONE loves Shrek. And Flushed Away was a BIG improvement. 'Cause it was more Aardman, not Dreamworks. <p> Jerry should make trailers for a living ('cause he needs the money). The 'Comedian' trailer was great too. And then the movie didn't even get a cinematic release (O.S.)!

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 12:15 p.m. CST

    "When you have three people saying the same thing..."

    by Childe Roland

    "'s clear they are probably right." I'm sorry, godzillasushi, but this is easily the most terrifying thing I've read in a long time. And that's not because I actually expect this movie to be any good. It's because it scares the happy fuck right out of me to know there are people who actually think this way.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST

    The trailer shows it should be live action/animation

    by performingmonkey

    Why the fuck didn't they go for a live action/animation mix? At least then it would have been more interesting. Or just do this as a Seinfeld episode with Elaine instead of Renee Zellweger and George as his friend instead of Matthew 'I was in War Games with Ally Sheedy and I also voiced adult Simba in The Lion King' Broderick. Seriously, if this was more live action it would be the BEST Jerry, the BEST!

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 1:22 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    AmEx commercials with Supes (with his go-to guy Warburton) rocked. Maybe he should stick with the 30 - 60 second format. Seinfeld was always a top notch observational joke teller, not a story teller.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 1:31 p.m. CST

    To me, it really doesn't matter if it sucks or not.

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    I make a point of saying that a few choice episodes of Seinfeld alone are enough for me to forgive all of Jerry's mistakes for the rest of his life. Hell, he could kill a man in front of witnesses, and I'd be the one guy with the "Jerry Didn't Do It!" bumper sticker.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST

    "ignorant american public"

    by Tommy the Cat

    When the fuck are you country-proud assholes going to realize that most ALL human beings on this lovely planet are fucking morons?

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 4:16 p.m. CST

    You know what would be absolutely hilarious?

    by jollysleeve

    If the bee voiced by Jerry Seinfeld actually was animated to look a little like the man himself. Also, I think it would be absolutely hysterical if the bee's personality was a loose extension of Seinfeld's public persona. Finally, I hope there's a lot of screaming.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 4:48 p.m. CST

    If these three were all eyewitnesses to a murder

    by Doctor_Sin

    The killer would get the death penalty.<p>Sounds like more crapola. Especially the educational-film approach at the start of all these things. No goddamned kid wants to go to school in the movie theater. God, movies are so boring now that they actually try to teach things.<p>You know, everywhere I go online, Brits are the ones who bitch about "not getting American humo(u)r" because so-and-so isn't "big in the UK." Yet, I never see Americans bitching about some sideways reference to eel pie or MPs in whatever BBC America show they happen to catch. Interesting.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 5:04 p.m. CST

    The American Office (Messi)

    by IForgotAbout19

    I've seen all of the UK Office (Except the Christmas specials) and wouldn't hesitate to call it brilliant. When the American version came around I expected it to be total shit. I avoided it at all costs for a long time. Recently, though, I watched about the first 6 or 7 episodes of the second season and I have to say, it's damn good aswell. It isn't as smart, or as dark as the Office, but it is seriously well-written and acted. It is hillarious, and clearly done with a lot of heart. You should give it another shot. Gervais endorses it, from what I've heard, so that's got to mean something.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Will Michael Richards voice a racist character?

    by Doctor_Sin

    "We need more Jews in this hive!"

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Sounds like Man of the Year.

    by Barry Egan

    Watched that piece of shit last night. It starts with an awesome premise and then flies off the tracks and burns.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Michael Richards

    by Hideo Kojima

    You know what you are? A HORNET! Oh look, it's a hornet! A hornet! Right there in the front row a hornet! On a more serious note me thinks Larry David and Jerry need to get together again and write/produce a film... I'm sure it would be funny.. pretty pretty funny..

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 7:30 p.m. CST

    No honey for you!!!

    by Alonzo Mosely

    The honey nazi is in it, right?

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 10:24 p.m. CST

    "Are you hive-worthy?"

    by TheUglyBaby


  • Feb. 28, 2007, 10:25 p.m. CST

    "This bee pollen is makin' me THIRSTY!!!"

    by TheUglyBaby

    He he he

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 11:18 p.m. CST

    I hope this is the bomb that puts the breaks on these

    by INWOsuxRED

    cookie-cutter pixar style cartoons. There are too many, and they're all the same. If they aren't going to use the technology for something other than making animals or inanimate objects be cute and go on a wild adventure where they meet a cast of wild characters who embody a stereotype of some kind, then maybe they shouldn't put 10 of them out every year. It sucks that there is so much talent and technology locked up in a studio exclusively dedicated to making generic genre cartoons, and it sucks even more that there are multiple studios trying to copy that formula.

  • Feb. 28, 2007, 11:46 p.m. CST

    "Bees." "BEES?!" "Gob's not on board."

    by DanielKurland

    If this movie was just Seinfeld references in a bee universe I'd see it. Throw in some AD for good measure.

  • March 1, 2007, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Human and Bee Love

    by Judge Briggs

    yeah, that is weird.

  • March 1, 2007, 7:17 a.m. CST

    Heart attack never stopped old big bear!

    by IForgotAbout19

    He never even got to see my bee business take off.

  • March 1, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST


    by hadez

    When I read your first comment, I spat my soda on the keyboard. Great stuff. :)

  • March 1, 2007, 4:59 p.m. CST

    A lack of Chris Rock is a good thing.

    by Snookeroo

    And this will make a load of cash regardless because parents will take their kids to see anything that's animated. Period.

  • March 7, 2007, 4:18 p.m. CST

    This Is Madness...!

    by buster00


  • March 13, 2007, 2:01 p.m. CST

    this is gonna be great

    by council estate scumbag


  • Oct. 26, 2007, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Enough with the damn bee advertising!

    by Literarywanderer

    With all the shitty uber advertising, I wasn't going to see this anyway. When someone has to ram the movie down your throat to watch it, it can't be that good.